Swiss to Add $2.8 Billion in Funding for Pandemic-Hit Businesses

The Swiss government wants to boost funds for crisis-stricken businesses by 2.5 billion francs ($2.8 billion), as a slow rollout of vaccines and a mutating virus add to headwinds for the economy.

The step, which will still need to be approved by parliament, means state financial assistance to firms is being doubled since the autumn. Switzerland closed restaurants and leisure facilities late last year, and responded to a rising number of cases of the virus strain that first emerged in Britain by shutting non-essential shops earlier this month.

Although Switzerland suffered less of an economic hit than many other European countries and its public finances are solid, the renewed shutdown will hamper momentum. An indicator published by Credit Suisse Group AG and the local CFA Society showed economic expectations deteriorated in January.

The government also proposed to renew the state-backed Covid-19 bank lending program, with a focus on small- and medium-sized companies, should there be a third pandemic wave. First introduced in the spring, the initiative won international plaudits for allowing businesses quick access to liquidity.

Switzerland’s federal government also plans to pay for this year’s job-furlough programs costing about 6 billion francs.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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